1962 Master Index 1964

1963 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events

1963 Events

  • 1963 — Violating a 1959 requirement that all aircraft operating from the aircraft carrier Minas Gerais - which never has operated aircraft - belong to the Brazilian Air Force, the Brazilian Navy establishes an air group of its own for the carrier and smuggles aircraft purchased abroad into the country for the air group. Air force reconnaissance aircraft discover the naval carrier aircraft, causing tension between the two services. [1]

  • 1963 — The North Vietnamese Air Force and Air Defense Force merge to form a unified Air and Air Defense Force. [1]

January 1963

  • January 2 — The Battle of Ap Bac in South Vietnam is the first time that Viet Cong forces stand and fight against a major South Vietnamese attack. At the outset, Viet Cong ground fire shoots down a United States Army Bell UH-1 Iroquois attack helicopter and four U.S. Army Piasecki CH-21 Shawnee transport helicopters as they arrive at their landing zone. South Vietnamese Air Force Fairchild C-123 Provider transport planes drop about 300 South Vietnamese paratroopers later in the day. [1]

  • January 7 — Aeroflot launches its service from Moscow to Havana (Cuba), using Tu-114 turboprop aircraft. [1]

  • January 24 — A United States Air Force Boeing B-52C Stratofortress loses its vertical stabilizer in turbulence and crashes on Elephant Mountain, in Piscataquis County, Maine, killing seven of the nine-man crew. [1]

February 1963

  • February — The rules of engagement for American armed helicopter crews in South Vietnam are relaxed to allow them to fire at clearly identified Viet Cong forces who are threatening American helicopters without waiting for the Viet Cong to fire first. Previously, they had been permitted to open fire on Viet Cong forces only if the Viet Cong fired first. [1]

  • February 1 — The United States Army activates the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) to test the concept of helicopter assault by ground forces. [1]

  • February 8 — The Royal Navy conducts the world's first experimental trials of a vertical take-off and landing fixed-wing aircraft aboard an aircraft carrier, testing the Hawker Siddeley P.1127 prototype aboard HMS Ark Royal. [1]

  • February 12 — Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 705, a Boeing 720-051B, breaks up in mid-air during a severe thunderstorm and crashes into the Florida Everglades west of Miami, Florida, shortly after takeoff from Miami International Airport, killing all 43 people on board. [1]

  • February 14 — The Indian Air Force receives its first batch of Soviet fighters, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21s (NATO reporting name "Fishbed"). [1]

March 1963

  • March — The U.S. Army completes a six-month test of the Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter (the "Huey") in an armed escort role, evaluating the operations of the Utility Tactical Transport Helicopter Company's operations escorting CH-21C Shawnee transport helicopters in South Vietnam, concluding that the value of attack helicopters in suppressing enemy fire during the landing phase of a helicopter operation justified the fielding of attack helicopter units. [1]

  • March 5 — Country music star Patsy Cline and three others are killed in the crash of a Piper Comanche near Camden, Tennessee. [1]

  • March 18 — the Dassault Balzac makes its first transitions from vertical to horizontal flight and Back. [1]

April 1963

  • April 13 — United States Marine Corps UH-34 Seahorse transport helicopters based at Da Nang, South Vietnam, airlift 435 South Vietnamese troops to attack a suspected Viet Cong stronghold in mountains along the Thu B?n River. For the first time, Marine Corps helicopters receive attack helicopter escort in the form of United States Army UH-1B gunships. [1]

  • April 27-May 20 — U.S. Marine Corps transport helicopters are heavily involved in airlifting South Vietnamese troops during Operation Bach Phuong XI, a South Vietnamese offensive against Viet Cong forces near Do Xa, South Vietnam. [1]

  • April 27 — The U.S. Marine Corps loses its first aircraft to enemy action in Vietnam, a UH-34D transport helicopter shot down by Viet Cong ground fire near Do Xa, South Vietnam. [1]

May 1963

  • May — The Israeli Air Force acquires its first 25 Dassault Mirage IIICJ fighters. [1]

June 1963

  • June 3 — Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 293, a Douglas DC-7C, crashes in the Pacific Ocean west-southwest of Annette Island, Alaska, off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, killing all 101 people on board. [1]

  • June 5 — President John F. Kennedy announces during a speech at the United States Air Force Academy that the United States Government would team with private industry to quickly develop "the prototype of a commercially successful supersonic transport superior to that being built in any other country," a reference to the British-French Concorde and the Soviet Tupolev Tu-144 (NATO reporting name "Charger"). His statement gives rise to the Boeing 2707 ("SST") project. [1]

  • June 8 — The National Museum of Naval Aviation opens at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Pensacola, Florida. [1]

July 1963

  • July 2 — Mohawk Airlines Flight 121, a Martin 4-0-4, crashes on takeoff into a heavy thunderstorm at Rochester, New York, in the United States, killing seven of the 43 people on board and injuring all 36 survivors. [1]

  • July 3 — National Airways Corporation Flight 441, a Douglas DC-3C, flies into a vertical rock face in New Zealand's Kaimai Ranges near Mount Ngatamahinerua, killing all 23 people on board. [1]

  • July 3 — The Peruvian Navy reestablishes a naval arm, Peruvian Naval Aviation. [1]

  • July 19 — Joe Walker flies a North American X-15 to a record altitude of 106,010 metres (347,800 feet) on X-15 Flight 90. Exceeding an altitude of 100 km (62.1 statute miles, 54 nautical miles), this flight qualifies as a human spaceflight under international convention. [1]

  • July 20 — The U.S. Air Force C-47 Skytrain Extol Pink evacuates wounded Vietnamese at night under heavy fire. Its six-man crew receives the MacKay Trophy for the flight. [1]

  • July 27 — United Arab Airlines Flight 869, a de Havilland Comet 4C, crashes into the Arabian Sea on approach to Bombay-Santa Cruz Airport in Bombay, India, in heavy rain and turbulence, killing all 63 people on board. Among the dead are 26 Boy Scouts from the Philippines on their way to the 11th World Scout Jamboree in Greece. [1]

August 1963

  • August 21 — An Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-124 with 52 people on board ditches in the Neva River at Leningrad in the Soviet Union without a single injury or fatality. [1]

  • August 23 — National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) research pilot Joseph A. Walker flies the third North American X-15 into space, setting a world altitude record for aircraft of 354,200 feet (67.08 miles; 108 km). [1]

  • August 28 — Two U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotankers collide over the Atlantic Ocean and crash. [1]

September 1963

  • September 4 — Shortly after takeoff from Zürich Airport in Zürich, Switzerland, Swissair Flight 306, a Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III, catches fire, leading to hydraulic failure and a loss of control. The plane crashes near Dürrenäsch, Switzerland, killing all 80 people on board. Among the dead are 43 people — one-fifth of the population — of the village of Humlikon, Switzerland, traveling together to visit a farm test site at Geneva. [1]

October 1963

  • October — In an exercise named Operation Big Lift, the United States Air Force airlifts an entire armored division of 15,000 troops to Europe within five days. [1]

  • October 2 — Second British Short SC.1 VTOL research aircraft (XG905) flying from Belfast Harbour Airport, crashes due to a control malfunction, killing the test pilot, J. R. Green. [1]

  • October 16 — A B-58 Hustler bomber of the U.S. Air Force's 305th Bombardment Wing sets a new speed record by flying from Tokyo, Japan, to London, England, via Alaska and Greenland in 8 hours 35 minutes at an average speed of 938 mph (1,510 km/hr). [1]

  • October 22 — During its flight development program, the BAC One-Eleven airliner prototype (G-ASHG), crashes, killing the entire crew of seven, including test pilot M. J. Lithgow. The investigation of the accident reveals that it resulted from a deep stall caused by the aircraft assuming an unexpected and dangerously high angle of attack, and remedial measures will be of great use worldwide in designing aircraft that have a T-tail and rear-mounted engine configuration. [1]

  • October 28 — Belfast Aldergrove opens as the principal airport for Northern Ireland, civilian facilities transferring from Nutts Corner. [1]

November 1963

  • November 8 — Finnair aircraft (OH-LCA) crashes before landing at Mariehamn Airport on the Åland Islands. [1]

  • November 22 — In the aftermath of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, President of the United States, the Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson, is sworn in as his successor aboard the Air Force One aircraft SAM 26000 on the ground at Dallas Love Field in Dallas, Texas, the only U.S. president to be sworn in aboard an aircraft. [1]

  • November 29 — Five minutes after takeoff from Montreal/Dorval Airport in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Trans-Canada Air Lines Flight 831, a Douglas DC-8-54CF, crashes near Ste-Thérèse-de-Blainville, Quebec, killing all 118 people on board. Among the dead is Donald Turnbull, the son of inventor Wallace Rupert Turnbull. It is the deadliest aviation accident ever to occur in Canada at the time. [1]

December 1963

  • December 8 — Lightning strikes the Pan American World Airways Boeing 707-121 Clipper Tradewind, operating as Flight 214, igniting fuel vapor and causing an explosion which blows part of the left wing off the aircraft. The plane crashes near Elkton, Maryland, killing all 81 people on board. As a result of the tragedy, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration orders the installation of lightning discharge wicks or static dischargers on all commercial jets flying inside U.S. airspace. [1]

1963 First Flights

  • January 2 — Aero Commander 1121 Jet Commander. [1]

  • January 7 — Short Skyvan. [1]

  • January 9 — Yakovlev Yak-36. [1]

  • January 26 — Hiller OH-5. [1]

  • February 9 — Boeing 727. [1]

  • February 25 — Transall C.160. [1]

  • March 26 — Hunting H.126. [1]

  • April 20 — EWR VJ 101. [1]

  • May 27 — McDonnell F-4C Phantom II, first United States Air Force version of the F-4 Phantom II. [1]

  • June 29 — Saab 105. [1]

  • August 1 — PZL-104 Wilga (Wilga 2 prototype). [1]

  • August 7 — Lockheed YF-12. [1]

  • August 20 — BAC One-Eleven prototype (G-ASHG). [1]

  • September 14 — Mitsubishi MU-2. [1]

  • October 7 — Learjet 23 prototype, the very first Learjet built. [1]

  • December 17 — C-141 Starlifter. [1]

  • December 17 — Matra Jupiter. [1]

  • December 21 — Hawker Siddeley Andover. [1]

1963 Aircraft Entering Service

  • 1963 — PZL-Mielec Lim-6bis in the Polish Air Force. [1]

  • February — Grumman A-6A Intruder with VA-42 Green Pawns of US Navy. [1]

  • August — Bell UH-1D Iroquois (Bell Model 205) with United States Army 11th Air Assault Division. [1]

  • September — Antonov An-24 ("Coke") with Aeroflot (passenger service). [1]

  • November — McDonnell F-4C Phantom II with USAF. [1]

Works Cited

  1. Timeline and History: Wikipedia. 1963 in aviation.

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